Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Friday, April 19, 2019 09:13:11 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Barca need Messi, Neymar, Suarez to mask defensive deficiencies

By AFP, Madrid
22nd-Aug-2014       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

After a year of political turmoil in the board and court rooms and disappointment on the pitch, Barcelona have not taken a first trophyless season in six years lying down.
Facing two transfer window signing bans, a summer of revolution in the Catalan capital saw former captain Luis Enrique installed as coach and over 150 million euros ($200 million) invested in the squad.
However, doubts remain over how wisely that money has been spent and whether Barca have truly addressed their weaknesses from last season.
The headline purchase has been the 81 million euro capture of Luis Suarez from Liverpool. The Uruguayan won't even be able to play a minute of competitive action until late October, though, as he serves a four-month play ban for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.
Moreover, whilst a trio of Suarez, four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi and Brazilian superstar Neymar is beyond the budgets of even the majority of fantasy football managers, it remains to be seen how the three dovetail.
All are coming off bitter disappointment at the World Cup in their own way.
Suarez's tournament ended in disgrace, Neymar's in a very nearly crippling back injury and, despite being named player of the tournament, Messi failed to secure his place as one of the best of all time as his Argentina side lost out to Germany in the final.
Yet, it is a triumvirate Barca need to work if they are to have any chance of challenging European champions Real Madrid and La Liga title holders Atletico Madrid over the course of the season with more major concerns in other areas of the pitch.
Veterans Victor Valdes and Carles Puyol ended their playing days with the club at the end of last season, signifying the breakup of the side coached by Pep Guardiola that dominated Europe in his first few years in charge.
Chile captain Claudio Bravo and 22-year-old Marc-Andre Ter Stegen will battle it out to be Enrique's number one 'keeper after being signed for 12 million euros each with Bravo set to start the campaign after the German picked up a back injury.
Of even more concern has been the recruitment of two new centre-backs in 30-year-old Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia and Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen for nearly 40 million euros.
Mathieu has spent most of his career at left-back before moving to a central position last season, whilst Vermaelen had lost his place in the Arsenal side over the last two years.
Both signings, though, give Barca some much needed depth at the heart of the defence and should allow Javier Mascherano to return to his favoured position in midfield, where he shone at the World Cup.
Mascherano's own future has been secured by a new contract that will run until 2018 and his aggression is what Enrique hopes to return to a midfield that has become lethargic in recent seasons.
"I am very happy with the desire and ambition with which the players are training. That makes me optimistic," Enrique said of his preparation for the new season.
"We need to press in an organised and concrete manner. Obviously it is important to have the ball, but so is to recover it as quickly as possible."
Enrique has already had coaching success at Barca as he succeeded Guardiola as Barca B coach and led them into the second tier of Spanish football in 2010.
However, his coaching style is a little more pragmatic than his former teammate. Gerardo Martino was criticised throughout his sole season in charge for not being loyal to the Barca style of play.
But with the figurehead of "tiki-taka" Xavi Hernandez also likely to play a much reduced role this season, Enrique will continue a trend towards moving the ball quicker into the final third.
A style and season that will succeed or fail by how their star attacking trio click.

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Cricket »

Sri Lanka dump Chandimal, bring back Thirimanne for World Cup


AFP, Colombo :Sri Lanka Thursday dumped established stars including former captain Dinesh Chandimal to hand batsman Lahiru Thirimanne and leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay a place in their World Cup squad.Chandimal, who was one-day captain until last October, wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella, off-spinner Akila Dananjaya, openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Upul Tharanga were all ...

Cricket »

Senior players need to take the responsibility: Faruk Ahmed


Former chief selector Faruk Ahmed insisted on the performance of the senior players, stating that they need to take the onus if Bangladesh want to do well in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup.According to Faruk, the condition should give Bangladesh a confidence, given that they stormed into the semifinal ...

Entertainment »

Mehazabien’s Boishakhi works create viewers’ attention


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :For the last few years, Mehazabien Chowdhury established her strong position in media by virtue of her acting quality and skill. She is now getting positive response for acting in two Boishakhi plays. Afran Nisho was her co-actor in these two plays - Tom & Jerry and ...

International »

Turkish opposition takes control of Istanbul, re-run appeal still pending


Reuters, Istanbul :Turkey's main opposition candidate took office as Istanbul mayor on Wednesday after a stunning victory over President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party, but the new head of the country's largest city still faces an appeal for the vote to be re-run.The final result of the March 31 local elections ...

Editorial »

Power politics in Egypt


A HUGE majority of Egypt's MPs on April 16 approved constitutional amendments to allow President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in power until 2030. The amendments were initially introduced in February, however after lengthy debates and discussions favouring the Egyptian society it was updated earlier this week. "The president's current term shall expire ...

Football »

Iniesta's J-League club Kobe part ways with coach Lillo


AFP, Tokyo :Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta's Vissel Kobe have terminated the contract of manager Juan Manuel Lillo following a poor run of results, the Japanese club said on Wednesday.The 53-year-old former Real Sociedad and Zaragoza boss won just two of six games since taking charge last October as star-studded Vissel ...

International »

US waging 'financial war' against Palestinians


AP, Ramallah, West Bank :The new Palestinian prime minister on Tuesday accused the United States of declaring "financial war" on his people and said an American peace plan purported to be in the works will be "born dead."In his first interview with international media since taking office over the weekend, ...

City »

Various organisations formed a human chain in front of Jatiya Press Club on Wednesday marking the International Krishok Sangram Dibash-2019.


Entertainment »

Priya Bapat to take up a web series


Web Series are surely the in thing nowadays and so many actors, irrespective of their stardom, are being seen in them. Marathi superstar Priya Bapat has also bagged a web series called City Of Dreams. Sharing her experience of being part of the series, she says, “Web series are now ...

Editorial »

Urgent steps needed to check outbreak of diarrhoea


AT the advent of summer this year, the number of diarrhoea patients has already crossed the recent records. International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, and the other city hospitals are struggling to tackle the surge in diarrhoea patients. The diarrhoea patients admitted to the ICDDR,B has crossed the number ...

Cricket »

Tearful Taskin vows to make a strong comeback


Fast bowler Taskin Ahmed vowed to make a strong comeback after being snubbed from the 15-member World Cup squad, announced by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on Tuesday.Chocked with emotions as tears were rolling down from his cheek Taskin shared his disappointments with media."Its' ok just pray for me," Taskin ...

Editorial »

Save the state-owned jute mills


WORKERS of state-owned jute mills across the country withdrew their 96-hours strike last night after the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) agreed to some of their demands. The decision came after a meeting between worker leaders and top BJMC officials on Monday night, following the first day of the second ...

International »

World leaders stunned by Notre-Dame fire, urge rebuilding


AFP, Paris :Global leaders and institutions shared the international shock at seeing Paris's Notre-Dame Cathedral consumed by flames.They stressed the unique and iconic place the monument has in human history and expressed solidarity with France. Pope Francis "is praying for French Catholics and for the people of Paris in face ...

City »

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visiting a stall at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre after the inauguration of National Health Service Week 2019 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre yesterday.


Entertainment »

What motivated Priya Bapat to take up a web series?


Web Series are surely the in thing nowadays and so many actors, irrespective of their stardom, are being seen in them. Marathi superstar Priya Bapat has also bagged a web series called City Of Dreams. Sharing her experience of being part of the series, she says, `Web series are now ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news